Variations on a theme -- using extension tubes for macro photography
Normally I take my close-up shots using a macro lens, such as the 60mm or 105mm Nikon Macro lens, or the Sigma 50mm macro. When I want a different look, something less sharp with a softer feel to it, I will switch to a normal lens and use it with a close-up device. The photos below were taken with the Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 G lens attached to a Kenko 12mm extension tube. The images were shot wide open at f/1.4 resulting in an extremely shallow depth-of-field at such a close range. This combination also gives a soft glow around the out-of-focus areas. This is something that would probably not happen if a dedicated macro lens had been used.
|The Kenko extension tubes can come as a set of three, 12mm, 25mm, and 36mm. The advantage they have over other brands, including Nikon's own set, is that the Kenko tubes retain auto-focus and lens control through the camera. The tubes can be used separately or stacked for even greater extension. There are no lens elements in the tubes themselves to degrade the optical quality of the lens.|
|The f/1.4 aperture and pin-point focus on one row of keys throws the background into a very soft out-of-focus look.|
|True macro lenses generally retain excellent sharpness over the entire frame with practically no rectilinear distortion. Here you can see that the more normal lens adds a roundness to the lines of the keyboard keys.|